In our latest Bordeaux wine article we headed southwest to enjoy the joys of the grape… and the waterways.
Taking tours of the numerous stunning chateaux, marvelling as another vineyard appears round yet another bend – it’s like drinking in wine with your eyes and your olfactory senses. But we tried another way of looking at the impressive history of this jewel in the crown of the Gironde department in Southwestern France – we headed for the river, the mighty Garonne. As you can imagine the guide on the boat concocted a heady mix of the history of the town but his words always led back to the grapes.
If it has been some years since you visited the city one thing strikes you immediately – how really bright it is. Over recent years, Bordeaux has rolled up its sleeves and washed its face, cleaning up the architecture. Now, the buildings are positively gleaming with white surfaces – gone are the black, rather sad walls. One of our favourite Bordelaise tipples is a dry crispy Muscadet from ‘Entre Deux Mers’. Our guide explained that this wine is, in fact, between two rivers, the Garonne and the Dordogne, and once you’ve tasted it you will agree that these waterways deserve the loftier title of ‘sea’.
We retired to a local café to shake off our sea legs, and they served up an excellent Muscadet Sur Lie – at first you think it might be off because it has a viscous darker yellow colour than the other bottles. ‘Sur lie’ means that this wine has spent time on its ‘lees’, wine sediment which transforms very crisp Muscadet into something altogether more complex, fuller bodied, creamier and richer. It’s perfect with seafood – especially the oysters we ordered.
Head for the very helpful folks at the central tourist office to explore the history of its rivers and their tales of navigation as you embark on six journeys through time along the Douro, the Rhone, the Rhine, the Seine, the Garonne and the Loire. Oh, and one place you must visit is the stunning Cité du Vin, with its mind-blowing immersive in-depth journey through all aspects of viniculture. Santé!